Its hard to say definitively why people wear designer clothes, but after looking at the research about it- Generally speaking- studies have demonstrated that both men and women buy luxury goods, and use them as a means to compete in the mating market. Specifically for men, research has overwhelmingly shown that the male desire for premium or exclusive brands isn’t so much about quality or function–it’s a very signal to attract mates.
Women, unlike their male counterparts, appear as though they aren’t just using luxuries to communicate their worth to a potential mate. Rather, the investigators advance the argument that they are signaling their mate value to other women. In other words, they are engaging in what’s known as intrasexual mate competition, in which members of the same sex compete for limited resources, including highly coveted mates. (Hudders 2012)
We can shuffle the reasons around all we want, but the real reason people wear designer- social status.
Alright, so what does this mean for designers?
On the non-luxury level, it really means it’s important that people can identify your brand, so that when people who know the brand see it, they recognize it right away. This is creating a type of in and out group for the people who are wearing your designs.
It also means you want your clothing to look as much as a designer item as possible. This also helps demonstrate why you want the highest caliber models and marketing possible- to sell the fantasy of these clothes elevating their status in social groups. This is in part of why it’s always the tallest and thinnest models in impossible locations. To inspire the consumer with the dream!
This is also a good indicator to why you should consider not using low end models, low end sets and designs, and as well as treat your brand with the highest regard in terms of its status. You shouldn’t regard it as trash or name it accordingly. Your designs elevate the people who wear them and should be treated as such.